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April 24, 2016

This Year’s NCS Cartoonist Of The Year Award Nominees: Barry, Pastis, Price, Ramirez, Tatulli

There was a lot going on with this month's announcement of the "Cartoonist Of The Year" nominees -- theirs came late from naming to publication so I feel a little less bad this is an additional two weeks late as well. For one thing there are five nominees instead of the traditional three. Two of those nominees are women: Lynda Barry and Hilary Price. Barry's nomination is the still pretty rare one for someone who works outside of the newspaper industry (at least she doesn't work there now), while Price is a more conventional nomination in that she's a syndicated cartoonist with several years of acclaim and sales success to her credit. It's still an exciting when a cartoonist makes that step into consideration. I would imagine many feel that having Price and Barry nominated in the same year rests with last year's Roz Chast win as a positive development in general given the awards program's male-dominated past and the idiocy of this year's Angouleme shrugged-shoulder Very Bad Look. A few manyl cite the nomination of cartoonists like winner Chast last year and Barry this year as important for the awards to continue finding exemplary cartoonists by drawing on more than two fields where they work. Another nominee is the very conservative political cartoonist and NCS division awards darling Michael Ramirez, whom some feel enjoys extended benefit as the best cartoonist fully engaged with a certain political view of the world -- this despite two Pulitzer Prizes. Mark Tatulli and Stephan Pastis are probably the most traditional nominees, but even then there's the potential for a story as it's beginning to look with this crowding of the nominees slate that one or both might have to wait longer than was once expected to take home this award.

The Reuben is one of the great awards in comics, despite the continuing confusion that comes from stressing that really only this division claims that award by that name and the rest are division awards. It's the problem all awards have that showcase an out-front award bigger than the rest of the show combined, but I wish there could be some more work on clearing that up for general consumption.

The awards banquet is the highlight of the NCS "Reuben Awards Weekend," traditionally held in late May in a different city every year out. This time it's Memphis.
posted 11:55 pm PST | Permalink

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